Record-Breaking 3 Million Georgians Cast Their Ballots Ahead of Senate Runoffs

A record 3 million Georgia voters cast their ballots in the state's U.S. Senate runoffs at the end of early voting, with higher turnout coming from traditionally Democratic areas.

Georgians voted ahead of the January 5 Senate runoff elections, as incumbent Republican Sentors Kelly Loeffler and David Perdue take on Democratic challengers Raphael Warnock and Jon Ossoff, respectively. The election can swing the current Republican Senate majority in favor of the Democrats should they win, prompting similarly record-breaking fundraising numbers to be dumped into the contest.

Georgia's largest newspaper, The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, reported Friday on state election data that showed Black voters composed a higher portion of voters than during the November 3 presidential election won by President-elect Joe Biden. Georgia secretary of state office data showed 3,001,017 voters have already cast their ballots in the runoffs, with 2,072,948 of those votes coming from in-person early voting and 928,069 being absentee by mail.

Georgia election data analyzed by the Journal-Constitution also revealed that rural, conservative districts saw lagging voter turnout numbers through Thursday. But current polls still favor the Republicans to hold onto their Senate majority. President Donald Trump is set to hold what may be his final political campaign rally during his tenure office in Georgia on Monday, as he stumps for Loeffler and Perdue.

Despite the concentration of early turnout votes in largely Black and traditionally Democratic-heavy areas, Republicans historically make up such disparities by voting in-person on Election Day itself. Both Perdue and Trump won sizable 60 percent majorities of in-person votes that were cast on November 3.

Regardless of which party the Senate runoff votes ultimately favor, the 3 million Georgia votes already cast in the election blasted the state's previous records from 2008 out of the water. During that year's Senate runoff between Republican Senator Saxby Chambliss and Democrat Jim Martin, only 2.1 million people voted, a number which includes both early and Election Day voting.

The Georgia runoff election itself is occurring on January 5 because no candidate was able to pull in 50 percent of the vote during the November 3 general election.

Both races are predicted to be decided by razor-thin margins, with both FiveThirtyEight and RealClearPolitics polling averages showing less than 2 percent separating the GOP and Democratic candidates in either race. Biden only defeated Trump in Georgia's November presidential election by a margin of under 12,000 votes. Biden's win was the first time the a Democratic presidential candidate won in the state since Bill Clinton in 1992.

Newsweek reached out to Georgia state election officials as well as the state Republican Party for additional remarks Friday afternoon.

Warnock Ossoff Purdue Loeffler poll stimulus checks
A recent poll shows Democratic U.S. Senate candidates Raphael Warnock Jon Ossoff of Georgia leading the state's Republican incumbents, Senators David Purdue and Kelly Loeffler, amid the congressional fight over whether to give American adults $2,000 checks to help those facing economic hardship during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. In this November 15, 2020 photo, Warnock and Ossoff wave to supporters during a rally in Marietta, Georgia. Jessica McGowan/Getty